OpenVMS and Flexibility
As a strategist I am noticing a number of themes emerging when I talk with customers about why they are moving their applications to a virtualised infrastructure (generally within a Cloud environment). These themes are Flexibility, Scalability, Smart capabilities, Usability and Cost; from an OpenVMS perspective I can also add lack of skilled resources and proprietary hardware.
In the coming series of articles, I am going to examine these themes and try and put into perspective how they affect the average OpenVMS customer. The first theme I am going to look at is Flexibility.
Over the years I have come to think of Flexibility as the ability to move bits of my body in ways it possibly was not meant to and as I get older, I am finding that flexibility diminishing. Interestingly the opposite is happening in the IT world. In the good old days IT was pretty rigid, to the point when I started you actually had to book a slot on the mainframe to run your software. Nowadays with the advent of the big Cloud providers, customers can switch on sessions at a minute’s notice and discontinue them just as rapidly. You can pay per use for resources (as per Energy companies) and your solution can be spread across multiple geographies if that is your choice.
Flexibility also gives organisations the opportunity to grow their IT environment without having to invest large sums of money in capital expenditure. From start ups to corporates, managers of all types are finding the Flexibility offered by virtualisation a key asset when juggling with growing (or hopefully not decreasing) IT requirements. The ability to be able to spin up instances at short notice and then close them down if not required opens up a whole new world of opportunities for companies to manage growth and expectations.
Flexible models for provisioning and resource charging have sort of been available from OpenVMS, with the ability to start sessions with basic parameters (and stop them of course); plus the ability to charge back usage has always been available to anybody who wanted to extract the information from the accounting log. However, the scale of Flexibility we are now talking about has never been available on OpenVMS. To be able to provision a virtual environment containing predefined resource levels and software at a click of a mouse or to be able to choose a charging model based on defined factors and set spending caps was never part of the OpenVMS environment.
That is not all. The way virtualised environments have developed now makes the operating system almost irrelevant, as the virtualisation software abstracts the administrator away from the OS, and all they see is the management pane of glass.
So, let us move forward to the release of OpenVMS 9.2. What is it going to be like running OpenVMS in a virtualised environment? The answer is “the same as any other OS”; the virtualisation abstracts the administrator from the OS, and assuming the environment has been set up correctly and VMS Software, Inc. have done their job properly then you should not notice any difference.
Is Flexibility from virtualisation good for OpenVMS customers? I think the answer in almost every case is “yes”. If your plan is to go down the virtualised route (even in a Private Cloud) then in my opinion the incremental benefits in Flexibility delivered by virtualisation add weight to the “yes” vote in the argument of “should I virtualise or not”.
Next in the series will be an article on Scalability.